Holiday hunting humor at Paramount

Published 8:39 am Thursday, December 8, 2011

“Holy Bells,” a version of “Deer Camp the Musical,” will be performed at the Paramount Theatre at 7:30 p.m., Saturday night. -- Photo provided

“Holy Bells, a Deer Camp Christmas” will be coming to the Paramount Theatre in Austin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The musical was written by Gene Jurek of St. Cloud, with music by Doug Spartz of Pine River and Dale Menten, of Minneapolis.

The original cast of “Deer Camp, the Musical” will reprise their comedic roles as the four inept hunters return in another mishap filled adventure in the north woods. With Christmas fast approaching, the Mighty Hunters of Elmwood head back to their beloved shack to cut fresh trees for the all-church Christmas choir recital and nativity service at the Elmwood town hall. When the ACLU steps in and says “No church service on public property,” the guys take it as a personal insult. Armed with an old chainsaw, plenty of cold refreshments, songs and stories, what could possibly go wrong?

This play is the third collaboration of Jurek and Spartz and like the previous two shows, there is plenty of corny humor, hilarious antics, surprises on stage, all set with a handful of songs including “Christmas in July,” “Here’s to the ACLU,” and “Lookin’ Like a Deer Camp Christmas.”

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Composer Doug Spartz enlisted the help of fellow musician, Dale Menten, to write this batch of songs. “I was just coming back from several health problems when Gene (Jurek) approached me with the idea for the new play. Dale’s musical prowess brought a different feel to the songs, which worked well with the holiday theme,” Spartz said.

The Austin production is part of a December tour produced by Great North Show Providers and features the original cast with Michael Johnson as “Moose,” Randy Soltis as “Doogski,” Brad Busse as “Diesel” and Mike Harens as “Digger.”

“These guys are starting to develop quite a following and have been getting quite a bit of notoriety from the play. We have done several shows throughout Minnesota this fall and people just can’t seem to get enough of these characters,” said Spartz.